What are SAT Subject Tests?

You’ve probably already heard of the SAT: one of the major college admissions tests that can help colleges decide whether you’re the right fit for them and that can even get you scholarships. But you may not be as familiar with the SAT Subject Tests, also known as SAT IIs. These can be just as valuable in the college admissions process! 

By: Nandita Dey, Molecular & Cellular Biology and Medicine, Health, & Society

What are SAT Subject Tests? 

SAT Subject Tests are standardized multiple choice tests in five general subject areas: English, history, science, maths, and foreign languages. Every test is an hour long, and scores range from 200-800. The tests are designed to assess your knowledge in individual subjects, such as Biology, World History, and Spanish. There are 20 total subjects offered, which you can check out at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests/subjects. These tests tend to be based on general high school curriculums, so you don’t have to be in AP/IB classes to do well (though those can definitely help). And the best part? You get to choose which tests to take!


Why take these tests? 

The SAT Subject Tests are another piece of academic data that you can put on your college application. Some schools still require that you take at least one or two in order to apply. In this scenario, you should choose the Subject Tests that highlight your knowledge and interests the best. An increasing number of colleges, including highly selective schools, give you the option on whether or not you submit scores. 


So why would you want to take yet another standardized test if you ~technically~ don’t have to? There are actually several reasons! For one, these tests can give you a competitive edge. Colleges want students with a drive for learning. By submitting scores, you’re telling schools that you’re dedicated enough to your education to go above and beyond what’s required. Additionally, Subject Test optional schools definitely have other applicants who are submitting scores. You want to have the best shot at your dream school, so it’s definitely worth taking an hour-long test to make sure you get full consideration. Secondly, they help show which subjects you’re passionate about. If you’re thinking about going pre-med, then you may take the Biology E/M Subject Test. Considering an English degree? Maybe you should take the Literature Subject Test. Bottom line: choose the subjects that you know you will do well in and which align with your interests. Finally, taking SAT Subject Tests can help you get course credit or even skip introductory classes at some schools. This can save you both time and money further down the road. 

SAT Subject Tests are a great way to highlight your academic strengths. By strategically choosing your tests and doing your very best, you can make your application stand out! 


-Nandita Dey, Brains and Brawn contributor:

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